The Next Promotion You Need to Participate In – Soon!
November 29, 2023   Dave Lewis

Postage is going up 2% in January – but not your postage.  Yours is going down 1%!  Because you are going to participate in a promotion you may have passed on before – the 2024 Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion.  It will take 3% off your postage – so do the math with me – a 2% postage increase minus 3% promotional discount equals negative 1%.  It’s just math.

“Now wait a minute!” you may say.  “We’re just a simple nonprofit.  We don’t do ‘Advanced Technology’, much less any technology that may be considered ‘emerging’. “

You sell yourself far too short. You let your donors make donations online, right?  And they can do it on their mobile device, right?  Congratulations – you are “advanced” for the purposes of this promotion, which fortuitously includes the Mobile Shopping Promotion.  At least it does for this year. 

If you are wondering why you haven’t participated in this in the past, in prior years most of the promotion period overlapped with the Informed Delivery promotion, and you could only do one at a time, so you chose Informed Delivery.  Better discount, seemingly easier.  This year, the Postal Service is allowing you to pick your own promotional six-month period for the EAT promotion (Hey!  Emerging and Advanced Technology’s initials are EAT!) so you can run this promotion in the first half of 2024 and switch over to Informed Delivery in August.  You can have your Informed Delivery and EAT, too! 

So, you should really be planning to start this new promotion for January or February 2024.  Our focus here is on the Mobile Shopping piece.  Here are the highlights:

  • Eligible mail is First-Class and Marketing Mail letters, flats, and cards.  Nonprofit, too!
  • You will need to create a technology “trigger” (think QR code) on your mail piece that allows your prospect to access a purchase or donation landing page with their mobile device.
  • You must include “directional copy” (‘instructions’ to the rest of the world) telling your prospect how to use the trigger – like “Hey! Scan the QR code, fool!”  But probably more comprehensive and less insulting.
  • When the prospect arrives at the landing page on their mobile device, they need to be able to complete the purchase or donation there. 
  • If you are selling a product, it must be a tangible and physical item that could be delivered by the US Postal Service – though delivery via USPS is not required.  You can use another carrier.
  • If you are fundraising for charitable donations, you must:
    • Send an acknowledgement or thank you via the USPS, or.
    • Include a mailed response device (BRE, CRE, or Share Mail) in the outgoing piece.
  • You must claim your discount by including the secret code ‘ME’ as the characteristic code in your eDocs.  If you’re doing “Enhanced Emerging Technology,” your secret code is ‘1X’. 

Honestly, you can do this.  Here are the essential steps to participate in the Mobile Shopping promotion:

  • Register for the promotion in the USPS Business Customer Gateway.  SnailWorks can give guidance.
  • Make sure your donation page is mobile optimized.  If it isn’t already, shame on you. 
  • Develop what technology trigger you are going to use.  The vast majority will use QR codes.  We can definitely help with that.
  • Design your mail piece, including the QR code, and directional copy.
  • Get it all approved by the USPS promotions office.
  • Mail that thing!  Don’t forget your secret code!
  • Sit back and laugh at your foolish competitors who are lamenting a rate increase while your postage went down. (optional)

Of course, this is the vastly oversimplified version.  There are a lot of rules and details, but really no showstoppers.  Again, you can do this.

Mobile Shopping is just one part of the EAT promotion.  You can use advanced augmented reality, use a voice command device, include video on your mail, and more.  If you’ve got a hankering for really going high tech, you can read the details here.

Mobile Shopping is going to be the easy choice for most mailers – it leverages technology that most are employing anyway.  If it works for you, you should try to start as early in 2024 as possible so you can get the most out of this promotion and the Informed Delivery promotion that begins August 1.  You cannot overlap the two.

One important role SnailWorks can play for you is helping to create unique personalized QR codes so you can track exactly who is hitting the QR code.  Since you’re likely printing QR codes digitally it’s an easy cost-effective upgrade.  SnailWorks is also available to help guide you through the promotion process.  Our experience with the Postal Service and promotions can provide some real insight.

Not sure where to get started?  Contact us – we’ll figure it out together!